Recently, both the Houston Chronicle and KRIV (Fox) alleged that Ben Hall would not air any more television commercials before the November election. Today, just as Annise Parker’s campaign unveiled yet another attack ad, Hall proved everyone wrong. Though, to be fair, I don’t live in the Houston media market, so I have not actually seen the commercial on a television screen yet.
Mike Morris at the Houston Chronicle notes the two ads, which were both released earlier today. represent the different paths that the candidates are taking. Just this morning, Morris published a front-page article in the Chronicle noting the nearly-universally negative campaign Parker has been waging on the airwaves. The article alleges that, throughout the past few months, Parker’s de facto campaign motto has become “my opponent is awful, don’t vote for him.”
Most political analysts agree that this strategy will be minimally detrimental to Parker, as she has been able to blanket the airways in comparison to her opponents. With Hall being conspicuously absent from television recently, Parker has been able to define him. Further, the attacks Parker has been pounding Hall (the tax issue) are, by and large, very true. This allows the campaign to be very direct and concise in their attacks. Hall’s team, meanwhile, has been forced to adopt a much more convoluted strategy, as the bad press against Parker is much more coated in hearsay and innuendo.
The ad, which is Parker’s third, is painfully similar to her most recent commercial. Essentially, the campaign kept harping on the point that Hall was often late paying his taxes and was forced to pay many penalties to that effect. One error I did find in the ad, though, was that it alleged KHOU broke the story about Hall’s school taxes on April 1st. In actuality, it took place on May 1st, but that doesn’t really change the point of the video.
I have said this following Parker’s first two ads, and I will say it again: Parker needs to go positive. She has a record to run on that is very, very good. Her approval rating is high and Houstonians believe the City is on the “right direction.” I certainly understand the need for some negative campaigning, but if what the Chronicle article called “casual voters” see nothing but aversions against Hall followed by “I’m Annise Parker and I approve this message,” it could have a harmful effect.
In the next ad, which is Hall’s fourth, there is a finally an on-air response to the allegations of tax evasion. He begins the commercial by ominously looking into the camera and spewing the three magic words of the Republican Party, “I hate taxes.” He then continues to extend his abhorrence towards the Internal Revenue Service in general. No doubt, this is a thinly-veiled plug for Republicans, given the IRS’s recent unscrupulous dealings.
Hall admits he had some “disagreements” with the IRS, before dropping the smoking gun. “[Parker] forgot to mention that right before those disagreements started we had sued the IRS for over nine million dollars, and won,” Hall said.
For the record, this is the first I have heard of Hall’s lawsuit against the IRS. The fact that he used the pronoun “we” speaks volumes about what was really said in the video. Had Hall individually sued the IRS for disagreements over his tax troubles, that would be one thing that should very seriously be examined in the campaign. However, if Hall’s Law Firm simply sued the IRS for an unrelated matter, there is absolutely nothing relevant about the issue. I’ll place a call to the Hall campaign to figure out which version is the case.
Texas Leftist has more.